Striking now to make it harder for unions

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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David Cameron has promised - or threatened - to deliver a new blow against the trade unions if he wins the next general election for the Conservatives with an outright majority in the Commons after May 7.

He has served early notice that in order to be legal, strikes in public sector industries, including education, health and transport, will require a 40 per cent proportion in favour of such action.

The TUC leadership has already denounced the proposal saying it will deny thousands of workers in these industries the right to strike altogether. There is no doubt that Cameron - had he won outright in 2010 - would have included this measure in the current Parliament, but there was no way his Coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, would have allowed it to go through.

Such a move would please thousands of public transport commuters though, who have been dogged by difficulties and frustrations caused by issues (admittedly not always) created by trade union activity. But the Tories now believe the unions are getting, once more, too big and too powerful for their boots and need bringing down to size.

Despite the popularity among Tories for such a reform, it will still be difficult (even given a Tory overall victory) to get it through Parliament unscathed. Labour see this move as yet another ‘vicious’ attack by Tory ‘toffs’ on the working man.

There is no doubt that if the general election produces another hung parliament, with the Tories the lead party, David Cameron will not contemplate another coalition arrangement. It has been a nightmare from start to finish and I am sure in these circumstances he will try and go it alone with a minority government.

That is probably why Conservative Central Office are planning for not just one but two general elections this year - the first time that will have happened since 1974. Meanwhile Miliband who has denounced the idea of a coalition if he is in the lead, though he may nevertheless have to settle for some kind of alliance with the hated Scottish Nationalists who’ve been burgeoning fast - by taking on board thousands of traditional Labour voters - since the Scottish independence referendum.

When the Prime Minister is next doling out aid to overseas countries, he might first check to ensure that we have enough cash left in the kitty to meet our own security problems. Just a thought.